Saturday, August 31, 2019

1958 Brussels

Today we are returning to Belgium - Brussels, to be precise; the site of "Expo 58", the first major Expo since World War II. It was also the 11th (and last) Expo hosted by Belgium.

This pretty photo shows the the distant "Atomium", but looming over all is the gigantic Soviet pavilion. According to Wikipedia, the building was "...folded up and (returned) to Russia when Expo 58 ended" (folded up is an interesting way to put it). The building is still used as an exhibit hall. Among the exhibits was a facsimile of Sputnik, which "...mysteriously disappeared, and they accused the US of stealing it". SHENANIGANS.

To the left is the France pavilion, an unusual building in that the tower that you see angled out supported most of the weight of the structure, so that interior columns weren't needed. One website referred to it as a "membrane structure". What a daring and impressive design! Notice the Sky Ride moving above the boulevard in the lower right.

You can't have a Soviet pavilion without a heroic statue of Vladimir Lenin.

Years ago I acquired this pin from Expo 58; It's got a neat design with Sputnik soaring above the big pavilion, with that nice blue enamel. Pretty cool.

I have more photos from Expo 58 to share... IN THE FUTURE!

I'm away for the long weekend, but look forward to reading your comments when I get home in a couple of days.

Friday, August 30, 2019

Nice Frontierland, November 1958

Today I am happy to present two very nice vintage views of Frontierland. The frontieriest land around!

This first picture feels like it was almost an accident - what exactly was the photographer trying to capture? But that's what makes it different. It's hard to believe that there were large grassy parklike areas - the little bushes were presumably there to keep people off the lawn (no more little wire fences to trip over), but it looks like that strategy didn't necessarily work.

The restaurant to our left is The Oaks Tavern, which became the Stage Door Canteen in 1978. Mostly obscured in the distance would be the Silver Banjo Barbecue. I'm not sure if the blue building toward the center was The Wheelhouse at this time.

Sure, we've seen a million photos of the Mark Twain, but I think you'll agree that this one is especially nice! It looks like some kind of dream, practically incandescent in the bright sun. And the barren shore along that stretch of river is strange to see when compared to today.

Starting today I'm going to be out of town for the next four (or five) days. It's very possible that access to the internet will be minimal, so I might not be able to respond to comments until Monday or Tuesday. But there will be new posts for you every day, and I look forward to checking in when I can!

Thursday, August 29, 2019

Pirate Ship and Captain Guy, July 1960

For a few years, a genuine peg-legged pirate could be found at the Chicken of the Sea Pirate Ship! He was known as "Captain Guy". I wonder if he was a Chicken of the Sea employee, or a Disneyland CM? It's always fun to find pictures of him posing with people, sometimes pretending to dispatch them in piratey ways. 

These are taken from rather far away, so they aren't quite as much fun, but I still enjoy seeing him up there.  He's puffing on his pipe, casually leaning against the shrouds, with his wooden leg on the rail so that everyone can see how cool he is. I'd love to know what those boys are saying to him.

Quite recently I learned that Captain Guy carried little cards with him that he would sign for folks, and it looks like that might be what's going on here. The card certified that the bearer was an "Honorary Skipper" and "Treasurer of Loot and Booty". No greater honor could be dreamed of! The other side of the card had a list of suggested nicknames, such as "Giggles", "Strangler", or "Thumb". I wish I had one of those cards!

Wednesday, August 28, 2019

More Matterhorn, November 1975

Our Peoplemover-riding photographer went a little nuts as he passed by the Carousel Theater and above the Skyway (how often do you get to be above the Skyway?) and Autopia; this first photo is very much like a pair that I posted less than a week ago. Somehow I think you'll be able to handle it though. I BELIEVE IN YOU.

Well, there it is, colorful Skyway buckets and race cars, a blue, blue sky, and a snow-capped mountain. I'd like to know why they have that little green construction barrier, and I'd like to know NOW. Guess I'll go complain at City Hall, they'll do anything to make me go away.

Say, maybe our photographer had one-a them fancy-shmantzy zoom lenses, just like the paparazzi that is always camped outside my estate. Those vultures! One time I caught some guys taking my garbage and dumping it into a large blue truck. When I confronted them they told me it was "trash day", but they weren't fooling me!

Tuesday, August 27, 2019

Along Main Street, September 1966

Good old Main Street USA! If this was Main Street USSR, everything would be built with gray cinder blocks (and beets, probably). But we are lucky and got these beautiful buildings instead. City Hall, where the Phantom of Disneyland lives (workers sometimes see him in the uppermost window!). And of course, Walt's apartment was on the upper floor of the Firehouse - he had an excellent view of Town Square from up there. Notice the Global Van Lines truck.

I told Walt Disney that West Center Street could be a place where people go to buy corn nuts, beef jerky and Slim Jims™, but my idea was overruled for a Flower Market. Their loss! Think of the spike in soda sales if they'd sold those salty treats. You know what they say, though... no idea ever goes away; maybe they'll put in a Beef Jerky Street in Shanghai.

Monday, August 26, 2019

Three Snapshots

It's snapshot time! Not as fun as Hammer time, but then again, what is? 

Lydia the Leopard Lady is enjoying her day at the park. Frontierland looks very pretty in the afternoon light (with that overcast sky) - the Mark Twain is luminescent. The river is glassy smooth, but that's not unusual. 

I would assume that in the 1960's, that coat had to have been made from a real leopard, which is kind of a bummer.

The next two (dated "December 1967" as you can see) are from the Dance Circle - the later version with the stadium-style seating. I especially like this first picture with the Indian dancers, the audience, the river, and the Mark Twain with a woodsy Frontierland in the distance.

Take two!

Sunday, August 25, 2019

Even More "America On Parade", September 1976

Just when you thought it was safe to look at this blog on a Sunday, you find yourself visually attacked with bad photos from "America On Parade". 

Here's a typical keelboat, much like the kind you might have seen on the Mississippi ("Commerical highway, romantic waterway"). There's dancin', and fishin', and snoozin', and maybe a little boozin'. 

The parade designers got fancy... the ornate thingamabob that these river folk moved represented the fancy gingerbread filigree on a Mississippi riverboat.

"Stagecoaches brought more and more people to the frontier, as pioneers left comfortable homesteads and headed further west". "Simi Valley Route", was that a real thing? 

Steam locomotives opened the west to the average citizen, bringing goods and passengers across the nation. Sadly, Pringles potato chips did not exist back then, so the trains didn't carry those.

"The traditional Sunday picnic brings out Americans' love for the fun food, like ice cream, candy, popcorn and hot dogs. But the all-time favorite and best snack of all is the giant jumbo sandwich!".  

Don't worry folks, there's only one more "America On Parade" post remaining. It will all be over soon.

Saturday, August 24, 2019

Shootout at Knott's Berry Farm, August 1959

I have a series of photos featuring a shootout in Calico Square! I believe that they were all taken from the upper balcony of the Calico Saloon. 

Some desperadoes have heard that the train was going to be carrying the weekly payroll, and they thought they might help themselves to it. One varmint has already been shot, and he is crumpling to the ground. It's so funny to see the men, women, small children, grandmas and grandpas, all watching the carnage right up close.

Is it over so soon?! Did the other gunman get away? Two train officers appear to be trying to calm the locals ("Nothing to see here folks, move along!"), and perhaps remind them that crime doesn't pay most of the time. To the right it looks like the Indian Chief is helping to keep that young boy at a safe distance from the gore.

I love observing the people in the crowd! One boy (to the left of the denim-clad deputy) is suspicious. "Hey, I think he's still breathing!".

I noticed some odd diagonal shadows on the mail car (or combine?) and decided to zoom in for a closer look...

... as you can see, it has been pierced by many arrows as it passed through the plains. That was too close.

The top-hatted undertaker has finally arrived, and the dead 'un is being hauled away to his just rewards. Boot Hill is too good for him!

Friday, August 23, 2019

Matterhorn & Autopia, November 1975

It's time for more views from a runaway Peoplemover train, circa 1975.

 This first shot is very pretty; it's kind of surprising to see Tomorrowland looking so lush and landscaped. How do I know it's tomorrow if all I can see is trees? A question for the ages. I think our Peoplemover car was near the Carousel Theater, though of course it now held "America Sings" and not the Carousel of Progress.

This second shot gives a nice look at the Autopia, with the Skyway gondolas heading back and forth from the Tomorrowland terminal which was practically right beneath us. I love the colors of the Autopia cars, red, yellow, blue, and green. Very toylike! It's nice to see the Monorail station with its zig-zag roof, and It's a Small World gleaming in the distance.

I was driven mad with power, so I cropped in a little bit for this closeup view.

Thursday, August 22, 2019

Souvenir Time

Kids who lived in Orange County had many fun things to choose from. There was Disneyland of course, and Knott's Berry Farm. And there was Movieland Wax Museum, and Japanese Deer Park, Movie World (with Planes of Fame and Cars of Stars), and last but not least, the California Alligator Farm. It was right next to Knott's, across La Palma.

My mom took us to see the gators a few times. There was just something about these reptiles that was so fascinating! I've always loved the cheeky "Drop In" slogan.

The smell of the place made an impression, but hey, it's a zoo after all. A creepy zoo! I remember alligators being coaxed to go up a ramp and slide down the other side, and the way the gators snapped at chicken carcasses at feeding time. Mostly they just basked in the sun. Another memory is of an absolutely enormous Nile crocodile, alone in his own pool (because he would probably eat the smaller gators and crocs). Thanks to the text below, and my own incredible math skills (1907 + 50 years) and my Cray super computer we know that this flyer is from 1957.

The place didn't just have alligators, oh my goodness no! Snakes, lizards and turtles could also be enjoyed for a satisfying afternoon for amateur herpetologists.

Due to lagging attendance, the Alligator Farm finally closed forever in 1984. Wikipedia says that the animals were moved to a private estate in Florida! Yikes.

Wednesday, August 21, 2019

Random Pix From August 1967

Here is a random pair of photos from Fun Dad!

Guests are milling about near the Submarine lagoon, beneath the Monorail track (I almost typed "trackS"). The picture is sort of a neat perspective, with the people in shadow in the foreground, and then the sunlit folks beyond that, and then the lagoon and Sub (plus the Autopia, Peoplemover, and Motor Boats) beyond that. As is the case in many of these 1967 photos, I just love the styles, colors, and patterns on the clothing. Polka dots, stripes, plaids, it's all here.

How about a nice lunch over at the French Market? You can hear some live Dixieland jazz too, courtesy of the Strawhatters.  In the distance,  you can see folks walking up the steps to Frontierland station to the left, while the brick walls surrounding the Haunted Mansion are just visible to the right. 

Thank you, Fun Dad!

Tuesday, August 20, 2019

Keelboat and Cascade Peak, 1996

I'll bet a lot of today's Disneyland fans (or "whippersnappers", as I calls 'em) have no idea that there used to be two little Keelboats that plied the Rivers of America back in happier days. But WE know! Mr. X took many photos of the Gullywhumper as it headed toward us. Slowly, slowly! But nobody is in a hurry.

Part of Fort Wilderness can be seen on Tom Sawyer Island, I think this was around where the emergency escape tunnel used to be, though I'm pretty sure it was long-gone by '96.

One of the highlights of a ride aboard a Keelboat was when the pilot would take guests perilously close to Cascade Peak's big waterfall. Meanwhile, I've never been clear on what that object that looks like a hangman's gallows was supposed to be. Any ideas?

Aw, he could have gotten closer than that! Maybe he was avoiding an reef or a sandbar that only an experienced river pilot would know about. I went a little heavy on the "saturation" slider on this one. I blame society.

Unlike the Mark Twain or the Columbia, at this point the Keelboat was only about halfway along its journey around the Rivers of America (since the dock was over near the Haunted Mansion). Enjoy it while it lasts, folks, the Keelboats would close forever the following year. 

Thank you, Mr. X!

Monday, August 19, 2019

More Nice Pix From Lou and Sue!

I am proud to present three more wonderful scans of photos taken by Lou Perry, and graciously shared with us by Lou's daughter Sue B; the photos are from September, 1977.

In May of '77, Disneyland's Space Mountain made its debut, and 42 years later it is still one of the most popular rides at the park (and one of my favorites). Here's how the speed ramp looked in September, 1977. It actually worked!

Here's a wider shot - the line doesn't look too bad, really. I thought that the photo showed a green-haired woman, but I guess she's wearing a kerchief or babushka. Which is disappointing. Green hair is cool!

Here's a great look at the front of the Mission to Mars attraction, which was pretty new at this point - the ride had changed from "Rocket to the Moon" (1955) to "Flight to the Moon" (1967), and in March of 1975, it reopened as "Mission to Mars", where you would find my close personal friend Tom Morrow. 15 extra points are awarded because we can see the Peoplemover reflected in the glass!

A huge THANK YOU to Lou and Sue for these wonderful photos from their family collection!

Sunday, August 18, 2019

More "America On Parade", September 1976

I'm so, so sorry, everybody, but it's time for more bad photos from "America On Parade".  Did I mention that I am sorry?

It's hard to tell from this terrible picture, but that's supposed to be none other than Benjamin Franklin, inventor of the 100 dollar bill. "This man carried the word from the Colonies to the King of England that this new land, America, wanted its independence". That's cool and all, but not as cool as flying a kite during an electrical storm.

There's the disco Liberty Bell! "Let freedom be heard, let the Liberty Bell ring out across the land!". By golly, I'll do it.

There are two of the many cannons that were used in the fight for freedom. The bright colors struck terror into the hearts of the redcoats.

Aw yeah, there's Betsy Ross. When the country was fallin' apart, Betsy Ross got it all sewed up!

"Pushing across the frontiers into the west, pioneers made their way in covered wagons. New land was being explored; America was expanding". When did this happen? I never got the memo.

Yes, there will be yet another installment of photos from "America On Parade". So very, very sorry.

Saturday, August 17, 2019

Vintage SoCal

I have two vintage photos from around Southern California; perhaps these will only be of interest to folks who live (or used to live) here?  I never know.

This first one (undated, but probably from the early 1960's) was in a batch of random slides, and I could see that the license plate on the car in the foreground (Nanook?) is a California tag - but the area didn't ring any bells. Luckily, there is a legible street sign to the left; "Plymouth Street". There were several Plymouth Streets to choose from, but I eventually found one that crossed North La Brea Avenue, in Inglewood (in southwestern LA). Eureka!

Granted, this is not a particularly beautiful or exciting photo, but I really like these typical street scenes from 50 or 60 years ago. "Eddie's Inn" and the "Pink Garter" would be swell places to have a brewski. There's "Carlson's Auto Radios and TVs" (a TV in an auto??), "Art's Hobbies", a motorcycle shop, a beauty salon, a Safeway, a Richfield gas station and a Shell gas station. On our side of the street, we can go buy a 1960's Harley! Also to the left is a Chevron billboard with Santa Claus.

Here's a Google "street view" screen grab, showing how the area looks nowadays. Of course things have changed over the decades, and many of those small businesses are gone.

Next is this undated (but 1950's?) photo looking southeast along Pacific Coast Highway in Laguna Beach (at the corner of Cliff Drive). This is another photo that's nothing that exciting, but it oozes 50's charm. Notice the sign for the Victor Hugo Inn, a restaurant that was built in 1938, and finally closed in the 1970's (it became Las Brisas Mexican Restaurant in 1979).

These days the Laguna Art Museum is on the corner to our right, and there is a eucalyptus tree that might be the very same one closest to us.

Here's a vintage postcard - the photo is older than my example - notice the change in street lights and the missing telephone poles. Still, it's a similar angle.

And from the other side of PCH (and a different old postcard), we get another look facing southeast!